Howto: Make Windows XP SP3 Installer in USB Flashdisk

Today I’ll share my experience creating Windows XP SP3 Installer on USB Flashdisk.

What you’ll need:

  1. Windows XP CD, preferably with SP3 already integrated. If you’ll use this to install fairly new computer/motherboard with SATA drives, maybe you’ll need to integrate SATA text-mode driver.
  2. USB flash disk, with at least 2 GB capacity. All data from this flash disk will be erased. Make sure you create backup.
  3. PC capable booting from USB HDD/Flashdisk, any PC made in last 3 year most likely will do. If in doubt, check your PC/motherboard documentation or contact your PC/motherboard manufacturer. If you do this, don’t forget to write down your PC/motherboard series/model number.
  4. Several small program, which is: USB_Prep8, PeToUSB (I use version 3.0.0.7),  and bootsect. You should Google it or, if you trust me, I’ll provide them in one nicely packaged archive.

What you’ll do:

  1. Extract USB_Prep8, PeToUSB and bootsect to their respective folder in C:\drive.
  2. Copy all files from PeToUSB folder to USB_Prep8 folder.
  3. Copy bootsect.exe to C:\ drive. If a prompt to replace Bootmgr appear, click No.
  4. Create new folder in your C:\ drive. Give this new folder name WinXP.
  5. Copy all files from Windows XP CD to folder WinXP in your C:\ drive.
  6. After step 5 completed, double click usb_prep8.cmd in USB_Prep8 folder in C:\ drive.
  7. A window will appear. Press any key to continue.
  8. PeToUSB will start. Select USB Removable and select flash disk device you want to use.
  9. Type in drive label: XP_USB.
  10. Make sure this checkbox selected: Enable Disk Format, Quick Format, Enable LBA (FAT16X). Do not change anything else.
  11. Click Start button on PeToUSB program. When asked whether to Continue, click Yes.
  12. Another windows will appear with information and asked for your confirmation. Again. Can’t be too careful, can’t we? Make note of your USB flashdisk drive letter. We will need it in step 15 and 20. Click Yes to continue.
  13. A short operation will commence and your USB flashdisk will be nicely formatted.
  14. Don’t close anything yet. Now hold Windows button + R on your keyboard. If you do it right, a Run window will popup. Type cmd and press Enter button. Another window will popup. This is command prompt.Type cd /d c:\Bootsect and press Enter.
  15. Type bootsect /nt52 m:, where m is your USB drive letter from step 12. Replace m as neccesary. Don’t delete : character.
  16. Bootcode was succesfully… will be shown. You may now close this window.You may now close PeToUSB window. Just this window. NOT window from step 7!
  17. Window step 7 will now contain 7 options. Type 1 and press Enter. A dialog will appear. Navigate to WinXP folder containing Windows XP installer CD files from step 5.
  18. Back to 7 options window. See options number 2. Virtual TempDrive letter currently T:\. You should change it if your Computer use it. If not, leave it be. Easiest way to check is go to My Computer and find if T:\ is there. If yes, change to unused drive letter like v:\
  19. To change, type 2 and press Enter. Type available drive letter and press Enter.
  20. Back to 7 options window, type 3 and press Enter to set USB flashdisk drive letter from step 10. Type M and press Enter.
  21. Back to 7 options window, bored already? We’re halfway there. Type 4 and press Enter to start main process. Type y and press Enter to confirm format process.
  22. After format complete, press any key to continue process. This will take a while.
  23. Making of…. Ready. Press any key to continue.
  24. Another dialog will popup. Click Yes.
  25. Another window will popup asking you whether to change migrate.inf. Because we will use it as Bootable USB Harddisk, click No.
  26. And click Yes to unmount virtual drive.
  27. Done. Making installer. Press any key twice.

You’re done making installer. Now to install Windows XP using this flashdisk.

  1. Restart your PC. Boot from this USB flashdisk. Configure your BIOS to do this.
  2. Enter TXT mode setup. TXT = text. Create partition as neccesary. DON’T PROCEEED ANY FURTHER, RESTART YOUR PC.
  3. Enter TXT mode setup. Again. Now choose partition you created in step 2 and install Windows XP on to it.
  4. After Windows finished copying file, it will restart your PC. This time, SELECT GUI mode setup.
  5. Let it run. Answer question as neccesary. Never unplug you USB flashdisk before you login to Windows XP for the first time.
  6. You PC should be good now :-)

Screenshot:

USB_Prep8.cmd Window

USB_Prep8.cmd Window

PeToUSB Window

PeToUSB Window

PeToUSB Confirm 1

PeToUSB Confirm 1

PeToUSB Confirm 2

PeToUSB Confirm 2

Run Dialog

Run Dialog

Command Prompt

Command Prompt

7 Options

7 Options

7 Options - Halfway

7 Options - Halfway

Making Ready

Making Ready

USB_Prep8 File Copy

USB_Prep8 File Copy

Change Migrate.inf

Change Migrate.inf

Unmount Virtual Drive

Unmount Virtual Drive

7 Options - Done

7 Options - Done

7 Options - Done

7 Options - Done